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Public car park rates set to rise for first time in 14 years

A review of public car park charges for both short-term and season parking is currently being conducted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Housing and Development Board. The last islandwide review of public car park charges was done in 2002. 

SINGAPORE: It could soon be more expensive to park at a public car park, with parking rates at these car parks set to rise for the first time in 14 years.

A review of public car park charges for both short-term and season parking is currently being conducted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing and Development Board (HDB), the agencies said on Thursday (Jun 23). The last islandwide review of public car park charges was done in 2002.

Differentiated car park rates may also be implemented for non-residents who use HDB car parks, as well as residents who require multiple parking lots as they own more than one car, HDB said.

“Differentiated parking charges could help to better manage parking demand, with priority accorded to the parking needs of residents’ first car,” it said.

HDB, which manages about 607,000 car parking spaces, also said that while car park charges have not changed, old and new HDB car parks have evolved and improved over the years.

“Some examples of improvements include better-designed car parks with landscaped decks, implementation of the Electronic Parking System to regulate parking demand more effectively and the addition of lifts at existing MSCPs (multi-storey car parks) where feasible,” it said.

URA, which manages about 24,000 car parking lots, said the review aims to “right price” public car park charges and reduce the gap between the fees charged by private and public car parks.

“The last islandwide revision of car park charges was done 14 years ago in 2002. Since then, the costs of managing and operating car parks have increased substantially. This is reflected in the current fees charged by most private car parks, which are substantially higher than public car parks,” it said.

The amount of increase is currently under review and details will be announced later, URA added.

The review comes two months after National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament that car park charges may have to be raised to bring them in line with those in other cities, and for Singapore to become a car-lite society.

DIFFERENT APPROACH TO PARKING NEEDED: EXPERT

A parking policy expert said that rather than focus on covering higher costs, the Government should study pricing as a means of managing congestion and parking demand. That could mean varying rates depending on location, time and occupancy.

"The primary purpose of the price is actually to ration that car park - to make sure that it's not totally full. Because full parking causes all sorts of nasty side effects. You get queues outside, you get people circling around the neighbourhood and that causes all sorts of nasty problems including traffic congestion," said Dr Paul Barter, Adjunct Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

"What we need to do in Singapore is to get back to the original idea that pricing street parking has a purpose, and we avoid overdoing it as well so that we don't have empty parking (lots) either," he added. 

In addition, Dr Barter said reviews on pricing should also be done on a more regular basis.